by Maggie E. Matuschka

The Natchitoches Young Professionals (NYP), an initiative of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, has named its 4 Under 40 Award recipients for 2022: Rebecca Blankenbaker, Danielle Cobb, Deandrea Sanders, and Faith Stanfield.

The 4U40 Awards are given to four deserving young professionals in the Natchitoches area who excel in community leadership and professional achievements. 4U40 Nominations are accepted through an anonymous survey. From there, a committee of former winners and Chamber leaders selects the award recipients based on merit and the nominees’ professional leadership, community participation, and influence as a role model.

Rebecca Blankenbaker is the Executive Director of the Cane River National Heritage Area. Blankenbaker is the current Vice-Chair of the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and Co-Facilitator and Program Planner for the Leadership Natchitoches program. Blankenbaker serves on a total of 8 local and state organization boards. She is a graduate of Northwestern State University, where she received both her B.A. in History and her M.A. in Heritage Resource Management. She is also a graduate of Leadership Louisiana, the Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy, and the National Park Service’s National Heritage Area Program Management and Report Training. She has been the recipient of several tourism related awards and accolades. 

Danielle Cobb is the recently announced Director of Alumni Affairs at Northwestern State University. Danielle has served on several local organization boards, including Kiwanis Club of Natchitoches, Service League of Natchitoches, and Sigma Sigma Sigma. She is a graduate of the Northwestern State University Hospitality, Management, and Tourism program. 

De’Andrea ‘De’ Sanders is the recently announced Director of the Natchitoches Boys & Girls Club. She is a graduate of Northwestern State University’s English program, and the first cohort of Leadership Natchitoches. Sanders founded her own nonprofit organization, the Coach De Foundation, which works bring resources to underserved or low-income neighborhoods. She has served on the Natchitoches Young Professionals Executive Committee, the Keep Natchitoches Beautiful committee, and The Children Youth Planning Board.

Faith Stanfield is the Director of the Marie Shaw Dunn Child Development Center. She is a graduate of Northwestern State University, where she received her B.A. in Early Childhood Education. She also received her M.A. in Early Childhood Education in 2019. She is a member of the Services League of Natchitoches, serves as the Academic Advisor for NSU’s Phi Mu chapter, and serves as the Queen Coordinator for the Cinderella Scholarship Program of Louisiana. She is also a member of several professional organizations, and has had her work published in professional journals.

These four recipients will be honored at the upcoming Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce Best of Natchitoches Awards Luncheon Wednesday, May 18, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Natchitoches Events Center.

The Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to making the Natchitoches area a thriving business community by promoting commerce, strengthening people, and improving life. Banner Ad
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